Senator Pauline Hanson has written to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield asking him to crack down on scammers making use of the lax regulations governing the purchase of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls to rip off Aussies.
Because of these lax regulations and technology advances, overseas scam artists can purchase Australian phone numbers without providing proof of identity, proof of residency or a reason for the purchase.
“International persons are able to buy what appears to be a local, domestic phone number, with commonly recognised prefixes,” Senator Hanson wrote.
“Those with mobile phones and digital display fixed landlines, are unsuspecting of scam calls when these prefixes appear on the screen and are left vulnerable to often convincing scammers.”
In her letter to the Minister, Senator Hanson outlined how 107,842 reported scams have cost Australian victims $57.5 million this year alone.
“Australia is seen as a soft touch by scammers and the total cost associated with lost productivity and people’s confidence by those affected is only set to worse,” Senator Hanson wrote.
Senator Hanson proposed that all incoming calls to Australia, from non-registered VOIP lines or virtual numbers, should be assigned with a prefix of ‘666’ and then followed by a pre-recorded message warning “This is an overseas call. Please be aware of phone scams from numbers you do not recognise”.
Senator Hanson finished the letter by letting Minister Fifield know she would appreciate a chance to talk further on the matter when convenient.